Mark Cooper, fresh off a three-point, two-goal performance in Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory over Tulsa in the ECHL 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs, stood near the entrance of what was once a sheet of ice.
He was there to watch the Milwaukee Wave practice for their Major Arena Soccer League Ron Newman Cup playoff game against the Kansas City Comets Thursday night at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“Those guys are good,” said Cooper, whose two goals and an assist helped the No. 4 seed Mavericks take a 2-1 series lead over the top-seeded Oilers in the best-of-seven series that continues with Game 4 at 7:05 p.m. tonight and Game 5 at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at SEC Arena.
“It’s kind of crazy to think that we played on ice last night and there they are playing on their turf field. Lots of good things going on at our arena.”
For the Mavericks, the best thing was their return from Tulsa and finding a way to take that one-game edge in an intense playoff series.
“I can’t wait for Friday night,” Cooper said. “Last night was so exciting, and our fans had the place rocking and rolling. It wasn’t a sellout – which we hope we have Friday and Saturday – but the fans who were there were great fans and you could feel the energy and electricity the minute you skated out on the ice.”
Cooper scored two power-play goals in the first period, the first just 1:15 in, to give Kansas City a 2-0 lead. But the Oilers scored two power-play goals of their own in the second period to set the stage for an intense third period that ended with Jared VanWormer scoring the game-winner at the 11:29 mark.
“It was intense, it was playoff hockey,” VanWormer said, “and it’s going to be the same way Friday night. You have two teams that want to win, who are playing their best hockey of the season and know how important the game is Friday.”
Coach John-Scott Dickson had his entire team in for a Thursday morning film session, with an optional skating period as they prepare for tonight’s big game.
“We have to get better every game – we were better Wednesday than we were Sunday (a 3-2 overtime loss in Tulsa) and we need to be better Friday than we were Wednesday,” Dickson said.
“We had session this morning to clean up a few things then some of our players went out and skated for a bit. The energy in our building Wednesday was outstanding and we’re hoping for the same things Friday and Saturday.”